1902 Encyclopedia > Plague > Plague in the 19th Century: (1) 1800-45

(Bubonic Plague; Black Death; etc.)
(Part 12)

Plague in the 19th Century: (1) 1800-45

This history divides itself naturally into two periods -- 1800-1845, and 1853 to the present time.

Plague appeared at Constantinople in 1802-3, about the same time in Armenia (Kars), and in 1801 in Baghdad. It had prevailed since 1798 in Georgia and the Caucasus, and in 1803 -6 began to spread from the north of the Caucasus into Russia, till in 1806 it was established at or near Astrakhan, and in 1807 reached Zareff, 200 miles higher up the Volga. These localities are interesting as being near those where plague appeared in 1877 --78. It is also said to have entered the government of Saratoff, but probably no great distance. [Footnote 166-6] The plague remained in the Caucasus and Georgia till 1819 at least. In 1828-31 it was in Armenia, and again in 1840-43, since which time it has not been heard of it that country.

In 1808 plague was at Constantinople, in 1809 at Smyrna. In 1812 was a more general epidemic affecting these places and also Egypt. An outbreak at Odessa is supposed to have been brought from Constantinople and thence to have passed to Transylvania. In 1813 a severe plague at Bucharest is supposed to have been brought from Constantinople. About the same time plague prevailed in Bosnia, and is supposed to have passed thence to Dalmatia in 1815. In 1814-15 it again appeared in Egypt, and once more invaded the continent of Europe in Albania and Bosnia. Two insular outbreaks, Malta in 1813 and Corfu in 1815, attracted much attention as being both though to be cases of importation by sea-traffic, [Footnote 166-7] and there seems good reason for this opinion.

A panic spread through Europe in 1815 in consequence of an outbreak in Noja on the eastern coast of Italy, its last appearance in that country. According to one view it was imported from the opposite coast of Dalmatia, though no definite history of contagion was established; according to others, it originated endemically in that place. It remained, however, strictly confined to a small district, perhaps in consequence of the extraordinarily rigorous measures of isolation adopted by the Italian Government. In 1828 an isolated epidemic appeared in Greece in the Morea, supposed to have been brought by troops from Egypt. [Footnote 167-1] In 1824-25 an outbreak took place at Tutchkoff in Bessarabia; the town was strictly isolated by a military cordon and the disease did not spread. [Footnote 167-2] Cronstadt in Transylvania was the scene of a small outbreak in 1828, which was said to be isolated by similar measures (Lorinser). A far more serious epidemic was connected with the campaign of the Russian army against Turkey in 18728–29. Moldavia, Wallachia, and Bessarabia were widely affected; the disease broke out also in Odessa and the Crimea, an isolated cases occurred in Transylvania. The most northerly points reached by the plague near Czernowitz as before attributed to the Russian and Austrian military cordons.

In 1831 another epidemic occurred in Constantinople and Roumelia; in 1837 again in Roumelia, and in Odessa, -- its last last appearance in those regions, and the last on the European continent except an isolated outbreak in Dalmatia in 1840, and one in Constantinople in 1841. [Footnote 167-3]

The plague-epidemics in Egypt between 1883 and 1845, when it was left observed in that country, are very important in the history of plague, since the disease was almost for the first time scientifically studied in its home by skilled European physicians, chiefly French. The disease was found to be loss contagious than reported to be by popular tradition, and most of the French school went so far as to deny the contagiousness of the disease altogether. The epidemic of 1834-35 was not less destructive than many of those notorious in history; but in 1844–45 the disease disappeared, and it has never been seen since in the country which was for centuries regarded as its native home. This result can hardly be attributed to quarantine, though it is probable that increased attention to sanitary measures under the influence of educated medical officials may have had much to do with it. But on the large scale it is a part of the great eastward recession of the plague, which is an undoubted fact, however it is to be explained. In 1840 Dalmatia (17° E. long.), in 1841 Constantinople (29° E. long.), in 1843-44 the eastern parts of Egypt (31° E. long.), were the western boundaries of plague. The same law has, with one notable exception, been observed since.


166-6 From the annals of the Moravian community of Sarepta on the Volga, Geschichte de Brüder-Gemeinde Sarepta, by A. Glitsch, Sarepta and Berlin, 1865; also Tholozan, Épidémies de Peste du Caucase, Paris, 1879.

166-7 Faulkner, On the Plague in Malta, London, 1820, 8vo; J. D. Tully, History of the Plague in Malta, Gozo, Corfu, and Cephalonia, London, 1821, 8vo; White, Treatise on the Plague (at Corfu), London, 1847; Calvert, "On the Plague in Malta, 1813," Med-Chi. Transactions, vi.1.

167-1 L. A. Gosse, Relation de la Peste en Grèce, 1827–28. Paris, 1838.

167-2 Lorinser, Pest des Orients, p. 319.

167-3 For the authorities, see Haeser, Op. cit.

Read the rest of this article:
Plague - Table of Contents

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-23 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries